In January of 2007, Jessica Bachus’s life was sunny, bright and overflowing with love. A proud mother, she was the expectant mother of her second child, a baby girl, whom she and her husband had named Kenzi. Kenzi was a few short months from her debut in the world. She was a proud, glowing mother-to-be, and her close-knit, beautiful family was elated.
Then tragedy struck. Jessica lost Kenzi on January 23rd.
What remained of 2007 was understandably difficult for Jessica and her family. Losing a child meant literally losing a piece of themselves, and so many dreams and plans that would go unfulfilled. As the holidays came back around again, Jessica was reminded of the daughter she lost, and the gifts that she would never get to give her. Most of all, Jessica wished she could have given Kenzi her first Christmas doll.
No one would have blamed Jessica Bachus if her heartbreak bent her to a breaking point. No one could have expected incredible good to grow out of their family’s great loss. Remarkably, Jessica Bachus took her immense sadness and channeled it into something powerfully Good. Yes, with a capital “G.” To honor her daughter Kenzi, Jessica started Kenzi's Causes (then known as Dolls for Daughters), a nonprofit organization that provides dolls as holiday gifts for girls in need. If Jessica could never give Kenzi the dolls she wanted to, then she would give those dolls to all the little girls in Colorado whose circumstances couldn’t provide them.
That first year, 2007, Kenzi's Causes collected 300 new dolls that were distributed to little girls in need. Jessica didn’t stop there, though, because Kenzi’s memory deserved boundless gratitude, loving and giving. She expanded Kenzi's Causes to collect toys for all kids in need in Colorado, and in 2010, with the help of friends, family and volunteers, Kenzi's Causes collected 4,000 toys for boys and girls. Since 2007 they have impacted more than 48,000 children in Colorado and provided more than 287,753 items.
That wasn’t enough Good to contain Jessica’s amazing, giving love. Also in 2010, she started “Kenzi’s Kidz” to help relieve the financial burdens for low-income families taking steps to create stable environments for their children. For a year, Kenzi’s Kidz provides children from qualifying families with essential items that make scholastic success possible. It includes school supplies, clothing, extracurricular activities, and birthday and holiday gifts. Since the program began, 23 families and 87 children have been impacted. This program has helped provide cars to single moms, Halloween costumes, birthday parties and zoo passes to the families.
After returning to school to earn her Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership, Bachus created the Packz4Kidz program to provide backpacks full of new school supplies to children in ECE-12th grade. Since this program began, 1,505 children have receive a total of 35,693 items from backpacks full of school supplies to water bottles and lunch boxes. All items are new and help children begin the school year feeling confident.
Jessica Bachus’s personal tragedy wasn’t the sole reason for her incredible efforts in giving back. She learned a lot about doing good from her mother, and had applied those lessons throughout her life as an English teacher, cheerleading coach, and mother. What makes Jessica special isn’t that she turned an awful experience into something good. It’s that she has done something that no human is supposed to be able to do. She gave her daughter Kenzi immortality with a legacy that few people could live up to, but to which every person would aspire.
LINK: KENZI'S CAUSES